Progress Report: 70 Days of Scouting

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We created The MMA Vanguard on April 24, 2017. Our motto was, and remains, ‘We Scout, We Find, We Share’. But what use scouting, finding, and sharing? We promised we were committed to ‘great writing and promoting great fighters’, but great fighters aren’t a concept, they’re a rare breed of athlete and hard to find. So has The MMA Vanguard succeeded in fulfilling the ambitions of scouting, finding, and sharing ‘great’ talent 70 days later?

In this column, we look at all of the competitors we have covered that have competed or otherwise signed significant deals with major promotions – no exceptions. Here are the results, as we tally up the scores:

Kyler Phillips

We covered Kyler in our second ever column the same day The MMA Vanguard first went live. On June 2, Kyler competed against Mexican Jonathan Quiroz (2-1) at LFA 13. Kyler picked up the Unanimous Decision, and moves on to face James ‘The Phenom’ Gray (4-1) as part of Dana White’s Contender Series. A UFC debut looks to be very much on the cards.

Scorecard: 1-0

Mika Faavale

Alaska-based Hawaiian heavyweight Mika Faavale participated as The MMA Vanguard’s first ever exclusive interview ahead of his Alaska FC 32 fight with 75-fight veteran Tony ‘Kryptonite’ Lopez. Despite having just four fights on his record, Faavale earned the respect of Lopez in a back-and-forth, hard-hitting fight that Lopez eventually won by fourth round submission.

Scorecard: 1-1

Jose Torres

An interview with two-time IMMAF World Champion Jose Torres gained significant traction, helping to establish The MMA Vanguard as one of the most outstanding prospect-based MMA websites anywhere in the world. With the support of IMMAF, this article drew a wide and varied audience, but the hard bit was yet to come…

The Titan FC Flyweight champion was about to jump up a weight class and challenge hugely experienced Farkhad Sharipov (17-7) for the Bantamweight title in a bid to become a two-division title holder. On June 19, Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres achieved that ambition, cementing his place as one of the top prospects in any division anywhere in the world. A sure-fire future UFC top contender, Torres remains one of The MMA Vanguard’s favourite fighters.

Scorecard: 2-1

Jack Shore

Key to being part of one of The MMA Vanguard’s favourite articles, Welsh stand out Jack Shore is one of the UK’s most promising prospects. His assignment against 8-3 Frenchman Konmon Deh looked a tough match on paper, but Shore needed less than a round to extend his record to a perfect 5-0.

With a 12-0 amateur record and an IMMAF European Championship to his credit already, Shore is undeniably one of the finest fighters that Great Britain has ever produced.

Scorecard: 3-1

Dom Meriweather

One of The MMA Vanguard’s favourite prospects, Dominick ‘Mocha Bear’ Meriweather insists on fighting every May in tribute to the United States Armed Forces, and former teammate Michael Williams had the misfortune to be pitted against the Ankorage-based fighter this past year.

An excellent all-rounder, Meriweather stopped Wiliams early in round two to retain his flawless professional record.

Scorecard: 4-1

Amir Albazi

We covered Amir Albazi ahead of his Bellator debut against 6-1 Jamie Powell. The fight represented the London Shootfighters’ first bout at flyweight, after a career at bantamweight. The biggest stage of Amir’s young career, the outcome was crucial: fortunately, Amir more than lived up to the hype and promise, posting his tenth straight victory and signing off this May at 10-0.

Scorecard: 5-1

Mohammed Usman

Former Arizona Wildcat Mohammed Usman is the brother of UFC standout Kamaru Usman, but at the time of The MMA Vanguard’s article, ‘The Motor’ had yet to compete in professional MMA. Still, The Vanguard held Usman in high regard, and we were not surprised when Mohammed disposed of nine-fight veteran Derrick Williams in just 76 seconds. An intimidating-looking heavyweight, Usman told The Vanguard his strategy would involve “pressure, pressure, and more pressure”. Williams, evidently, had no answer to that.

Scorecard: 6-1

Martina Mokhnatkina

A rare interview-free feature on The MMA Vanguard, Russian female bantamweight stand out Martina Mokhnatkina recently dispatched of undefeated compatriot Irina Degtyareva in less than 90 seconds. A four-time Sambo World Champion, little else was expected from the St Petersburg-based ace who is married to Mikhail Mokhnatkin.

Scorecard: 7-1

Frank Sforza

Undoubtedly one of the best fighters The MMA Vanguard has covered, serving law enforcement Officer and US Air Force Reserve Master Sergeant Frank Sforza was undefeated as he prepared to take on 70+ fight veteran Jay Ellis. The outcome of that fight was in little doubt to The Vanguard, however, and it was no surprise when Sforza prevailed after just 64 seconds. Frank remains one of the best prospects in the United States, and holds a perfect 7-0 record.

Scorecard: 8-1

Heather Hardy

Two-division WBC world boxing champion Heather Hardy made her Bellator debut at Madison Square Garden this past month, and fulfilled her promise with a third round TKO of nine-fight veteran Alice Yauger. Hardy showed that the crossover from boxing to MMA is perfectly possible for an athlete of her undoubted pedigree, and she looked as unphased by Yauger as she did by The Vanguard’s questions about entering a new sport: as Heather said, “if I walked down the street and someone tried to steal my wallet I wouldn’t be lost.”

Perhaps the gap between MMA and other combat sports really isn’t that great…

Scorecard: 9-1

James Gallagher

When we asked James Gallagher of his prospects against Chinzo Machida, brother of UFC legend Lyoto, the 20 year old Irishman was absolutely resolute in his conviction: he was going to win, and win well. James did not believe Chinzo had the same kind of motivation he had, nor did he anticipate any difficulties dealing with the much-lauded Machida karate style. Gallagher’s confidence was well placed.

The fight lasted just 2:22, with Gallagher looking close to flawless against the veteran Brazilian.

Scorecard: 10-1

Notable Signings:

Logan Storley

A phenomenal wrestler, Logan Storley recently signed with Bellator – no surprise given Bellator’s relationship with outstanding former collegiates, and Storley’s record as a four-time All-American just made sense.

Arjan Bhullar

Arjan announced his UFC deal in the weeks following his coverage in The MMA Vanguard. He will debut against Luis Henrique at UFC 216 from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cody Stamann

Like Arjan, Cody has announced his UFC deal just weeks after his coverage in The MMA Vanguard. He will face fellow promotional debutant Terrion Ware at UFC 213 from Las Vegas, Nevada.

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